Theatres have always been a fascination to me, because of all the decorated lights on the marquee. I guess it reminds me of going to the carnival, with all the rides brightly lit up with various colors. It makes it even more interesting when it had been raining, causing the reflections in the street and sidewalks.
I have been in several festivals in the downtown area of Detroit, including the Greek Festival. I just had to have prints of the FOX in Detroit, so I took photos and painted it for the following year. As always, I try to recreate the scenes as if it were in its early existence, such as 1929.
I love the old brick streets, the way they looked after a rain. It became an instant attention-getter.
Most everyone has seen photos of Rosie’s Diner, some with miniature lights for tail lights and in strategic areas of the photo that you could hang in your recreation room, or maybe the kitchen. The painting above, is also of Rosie’s Diner. Let me tell you the story of how this painting started.
While participating in the #1 Art Show, at the time, in the country, which was Coconut Grove, Florida, I met a ceramic artist who made miniature diners that had neon on them. It was great work. The artist, Jerry Berta, told me a story that fascinated me. I had seen those photos in stores and restaurants, I mentioned above.
Jerry had a REAL diner, that he used as a studio to make his miniature diners. People would show up at his door, wanting to buy diner food, and he had to explain to them, it was only his studio. Then he had the opportunity to purchase a diner in Little Ferry, New Jersey. They were going to get rid of the diner to make room for what they called “Progress” and offered Jerry a deal, he couldn’t refuse.
The Silver Dollar Diner, was the name of the Diner, where the well-known commercial with Rosie, the waitress, advertised paper towels. Jerry accepted the deal and moved it to Michigan. He said he only had 10 flat tires during the move. When he arrived in Rockford, he renamed the Diner, ‘Rosie’s. It was located in the same parking lot as his other diner and sold regular Diner Food.
On various nights of the month, he would turn on the neon lights and allow people to photograph their classic cars in the watered-down parking lot, which shows the reflections of the neon.
While in Greenville, Michigan at an Art Festival, I took time to stop there and photograph the diner. The painting above is from the photos I took that day.
During the outdoor drive in era, the Ft George Drive-in was built in 1950. It was located at 16300 Fort Street, in Southgate, Michigan. The theatre had one screen and could hold 1200 cars, which later, after remodeling, was able to service 1300.
During a storm in 1990, the screen was damaged by the high winds. It was eventually torn down in 1991.
While touring with my paintings, I had done several theatres, when I was told about the Ft George theatre at the Wyandotte Art Fair, just north of Southgate, where the drive-in theatre used to be. After some research, I found a black and white sketch of the theatre. I believe it was on a matchbook cover.
I painted the 24 x 36 painting before the show, the following year. I made prints of the painting and it became a popular item in the area. It’s amazing how many people remember that theatre along with some of the stories that followed.
Bob Jo’s Frozen ice cream shop was established in 1947 and has been going strong ever since. The have all the favorite frozen desserts, including Yogurt and Frozen Custard. To keep the customers flocking in, they change their flavors of yogurt and custard once a week. We had to stop several times while in the area at 4071 Fort St., Wyandotte, MI.
I returned the following year to the Wyandotte Art Festival with prints and found that Bob Jo’s was a collectable item to the locals.
During the Winter months, my Art Festival travels took me to the warmer southern states. During the rest of the year I visited many of the northern states. During a show in Kalamazoo, Michigan, I was asked to paint a painting of a night club and piano bar, called Monaco Bay in Kalamazoo, Michigan, which I previously painted. Later, the same person commissioned me to paint the Prange Building, another building he owned, which had businesses on the main floor and apartments on the upper floors.
This painting was one of many homes and businesses I painted on commission, during my travels.
ALL PRINTS are printed on canvas and stretched on wooden stretcher bars and prices vary according to size ordered. Most are 2:3 proportion
wrapped print- part of the image is wrapped
around the sides of the wood.
Non-wrapped print- The full image is on the face, with white or black edges
(frames and hardware are not included)
24″ X 36″ original painting on canvas not available.
When exhibiting at Art Shows and Festivals, I tried to have a painting that the locals could identify with, so I would scan the area after the shows and take pictures of interesting places. I had been in the show in Wyandotte, Michigan for years and painted several places near there. One of the places I painted, was the A & W Drive-in, located in Taylor, Michigan. It was a typical design for that restaurant in the 1950’s that I remembered. It was a 24″ x 36″ painting, on stretched canvas. With a little humor, you will notice the driver of the corvette is parked in a no parking zone and the car hop is paying more attention to him, instead of the customers.
When I was traveling and painting local landmarks, I decided to paint the Livingstone Memorial lighthouse, since I was exhibiting around the Detroit area at various times of the year. I had a good response to other lighthouses around the country.
The lighthouse was created through the Lake Carriers Association, as he was President of the association from 1909 until his death in 1925. The Association was a group of Large Shipping Companies that traveled the Great Lakes. It is located on the north end of Belle Isle, near Lake St. Clair.
The Lighthouse, made of marble, has a light, 84 ft. high with 11,500 candlepower, which has a 16-mile visibility on Lake St. Clair’s waters which flow into the Detroit River.
The Livingstone Memorial lighthouse was one of my early paintings of the 1980s.
My lighthouse paintings was one of the most asked for set of framed prints during our years of traveling around the Country exhibiting my artwork. Here are links to all of them…